For the first time since 2019, the Markham Village Music Festival returns live and in-person this summer.
International headliners lead a lineup that features more than 50 performances — absolutely free of charge — at the festival scheduled for June 17 to 18 on Main Street Markham.
“We know that everyone — musicians, volunteers and our residents are all so glad to be back in person,” says Fontaine Liu, Festival Chair. “And our sponsors and the community are so grateful to see each other. I think this means a return to nearly “normal” for everyone involved.”
One thing that isn’t exactly “normal” about this year’s festival is the inclusion of the festival’s most notable headliners in its 45-year history.
Lazo Finn, a former Wailer (yes, those Wailers), indie-pop boy band The Free Label, and feelgood party rock outfit Goodnight Sunrise are all among the headlining acts this year. There is also another, very notable announcement coming; watch for that June 3rd announcement on the festival’s website.
In addition, local acts fortysomething, What About Bob, Jimmy Miller & The Buzz, Markham Concert Band, Blackboard Blues Band, Los Moralitos, Farrucas Latin Duo, The Tone Dogs, and Quincy Bullen will all be performing.
“We are extremely excited about this year’s lineup,” says Kevin Ker, the festival’s Entertainment Director. “It is an incredibly diverse line-up, both culturally and genre-wise; as well as featuring our multi-cultural communities that make up Markham.”
As in previous years, it’s Friday night that features a number of our multicultural communities showcasing their music, dance and food. This has, in the past, drawn thousands of people to the street for night one.
Of course, there will be five stages of entertainment running Friday from 6 to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The music just doesn’t stop.
“There is something for everyone,” says past Festival Chair Judi McIntyre. “I would put on my comfortable running shoes and walk the length of the street, check out all the food and craft vendors and visit all five stages.”
Two stages are set up opposite outdoor patios — one at the Duchess on the south end of the street and one across from Mains Mansion at the top of the street. In between them there is the BIA main stage at Robinson Street.
The Dance stage will be in front of 68 Main and at the bottom (south end) a Youth and Children’s stage at St. Andrew’s United Church. There will also be kids crafts and activities at St. Andrew’s United.
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, remember there are two St. Andrew’s churches on Main Street Markham, will have an area called Dog Pause, a nice, shaded area for dogs to have a break.
At the Church Street gazebo you can see Beatbox performances on a large screen, and get a free photo at the Festival Photo Booth.
“Our biggest concern is always the weather but the festival is held rain or shine,” McIntyre says. “Our volunteers and musicians are a hardy lot.”
In the 45 years of the festival, there has been every sort of weather imaginable. The general strategy is to wait it out and continue on. It’s been a successful approach.
One issue that can’t really be helped is the shortage of parking. The organizers recommend attending on foot whenever possible and warn that parking is sometimes no nearer than many people’s front doors. They do provide bicycle parking at both ends of the street, however.
Markham Main Street will be closed from Highway 7 to north of Bullock from Friday, June 17 at 4 p.m. overnight until after 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 18th.
Visit markhamfestival.com for more information on this year’s headliners and the full list of performers.
Photo: Jimmy Miller & The Buzz are set to perform at this year’s Markham Village Music Festival.